2009: The Year in Review


30 Dic 2009, 21:38

All the cool kids are doing it!


25. Real EstateReal Estate
Psychedelic surf-rock with a pretty cool album cover. Brah.
Highlight: Suburban Dogs

24. BibioAmbivalence Avenue
Ever wondered where the human side of electronica was? This is it.
Highlight: Lover’s Carvings

23. Black DiceRepo
Total craziness that’s really hard to listen to but actually ends up being fun. Music for the ADHD, electronic noise-loving set.
Highlight: Chicken Shit

22. Sonic YouthThe Eternal
Because they can never make a bad album and I will always love them.
Highlight: Leaky Lifeboat (For Gregory Corso)

21. Fuck ButtonsTarot Sport
So what if their songs go on forever and one bleeds into the next? So what if this isn’t as great as last year’s Street Horrsing? It’s still full of trippy, late-night goodness.
Highlight: Rough Steez, but it’s hard to tell.

20. Cymbals Eat GuitarsWhy There are Mountains
Kind of like Lonesome Crowded West, but these guys take themselves more seriously than Isaac Brock. Unfortunately, they never reveal why there are mountains.
Highlight: Indiana

19. The Pains of Being Pure At HeartThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart
I’m a total sucker for these shoegaze revival bands. And what an appropriate name for this band; it’s so hard when all you want is for people to just… fucking… like you. A simple desire, and one accomplished nicely.
Highlight: The bassline on Come Saturday.

18. Volcano ChoirUnmap
Oh hey, Bon Iver! You sound creepier and more atmospheric this year!
Highlight: Cool Knowledge

17. Monsters of FolkMonsters of Folk
After opening with the decidedly un-folk Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.), this debut album from the young supergroup got folkier. And more interesting.
Highlight: Sandman, The Brakeman, And Me

16. PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Once you get past the terrible album name, you’re stuck with pure indie pop bliss. Sofia Coppola’s baby dad delivers some of the most fun songs this year. Shame I missed them by an hour at ACL.
Highlight: Lizstomania

15. Neon IndianPsychic Chasms
Have you ever listened to a record that gave you the “where the fuck am I?” feeling? This is one of those.
Highlight: Should Have Taken Acid With You

14. The Dead WeatherHorehound
Sometimes, when you read about a band, you imagine what they sound like. The Dead Weather sounds EXACTLY like I imagined them, and that is in no way a bad thing.
Highlight: I Cut Like a Buffalo (What does that even mean?)

13. Mos DefThe Ecstatic
Welcome back! Mos Def has crafted a clever, original album, probably the best in rap this year. What amazes me most, though, is how he managed to rhyme something with supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Wow.
Highlight: Supermagic

12. Dan DeaconBromst
Cacophony. Utter cacophony. But it’s gorgeous.
Highlight: Snookered

11. The Big PinkA Brief History of Love
Sonically huge. This album fits in perfectly with the throwback sounds of 2009, while still managing to sound a little different. And no, it has nothing to do with The Band.
Highlight: Dominos

10. Atlas SoundLogos
Bradford Cox does it again. Once you can get past the disturbing cover art, you discover an album full of surreal goodness.
Highlight: Walkabout

9. The Flaming LipsEmbryonic
The Flaming Lips are an endlessly likeable band. Then they go and make an album like this; an album very few people understand. According to Wayne Coyne himself, it’s supposed to be a cross between Miles Davis and Joy Division. I’m not sure I’m following him correctly, but the bizarrely seemless transition between Evil and Aquarius Sabotage is thrilling.
Highlight: See the Leaves

8. Death…For The Whole World To See
Technically, this album is not a 2009 album. It was recorded in 1974 by a couple of black punks from Detroit but not released until now, upon their reunion. Does it fit in with great releases from say, MC5 and The Stooges? Absolutely. Does it fit in with the best recordings of this year? Absolutely.
Highlight: Politicians in My Eyes

7. Fever RayFever Ray
She’s completely bizarre and she owns it. Swedish weirdo Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife strikes out on her own, and it's just as good, if not better than, Silent Shout.
Highlight: Seven

6. Dirty ProjectorsBitte Orca
Total ear-candy. This album is different than anything else out there this year. Also, Solange Knowles covered it, which aaaalmost makes her the cooler Knowles sister. Almost.
Highlight: Stillness Is the Move

5. The AntlersHospice
A beautiful, haunting album. I can’t say a whole lot more about it... just listen.
Highlight: Sylvia

4. JapandroidsPost-Nothing
I still can’t decide if this is the best or worst band name I’ve ever heard. But their fuzzy, loud, shout-along anthems are infectious and make for really good driving-alone-while-blasting-your-stereo sing-alongs.
Highlight: Young Hearts Spark Fire

3. GirlsAlbum
Early 60’s guitars and melodies hiding behind a giant wall of sound; doesn’t get much more nostalgic than that.
Highlight: Hellhole Retrace. Thanks, Pitchfork!

2. Grizzly BearVeckatimest
Harmonies are always a good thing. I had the privilege of seeing this band live, in the pouring rain, at ACL this year and I’m always impressed when bands can replicate their studio sounds perfectly onstage (although I’ve heard that at smaller, more intimate gigs, the guys experiment a bit, which would have been cool). From haunting, empty-church songs to poppy melodies, Grizzly Bear has you covered for all the pretty music you wanted to hear this year.
Highlight: Hard to pick one, but Ready, Able is fantastic, especially paired with its claymation video. My most played is Southern Point.

1. Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post Pavillion
Everyone is putting the same album on top of their lists (except Rolling Stone, who picked U2, but Bono is probably paying them to do that), and for good reason. From the very beginning of In the Flowers, Merriweather surrounds you in its other-worldy atmosphere and doesn’t let go until long after the final notes of Brother Sport have faded away. Animal Collective has always been awesome, but never before have they reached their full potential. Merriweather will be a hard act to follow, but I’m looking forward to hearing them try.
Highlight: The hypnotic buildup of My Girls or the controlled chaos of Brother Sport.

OTHER GOOD MUSICAL MOMENTS (In no particular order)

1. Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic ZerosHome
A really fun song.

2. HealthGET COLOR
I almost got to see them live this year. Damn curfew.

3. CrocodilesSummer of Hate
A good album for driving home from your shitty summer job.

4. Venetian SnaresFilth
It grosses you out (a song called Pussy Splooge? ewwww) and engrosses you at the same time.

5. Good EPs (in no particular order)
No AgeLosing Feeling
The DrumsSummertime!
Massive AttackSplitting the Atom
Animal CollectiveFall Be Kind
Delorean - Ayrton Senna

6. Bear in HeavenBear Rest Forth Mouth
I’m not sure what this is, but it was good.

7. Jay-ZEmpire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)
Excellent, excellent, excellent. I adore Alicia Keys and Hova is at the top of his game (still). Long live his retirement.

8. The Beatles: Rock Band
An absolutely genius idea: take everyone’s favorite band and let everyone be them! I actually bought a Wii just so I could get this game. And I beat it the other night and it was climactic. John, if you’re reading this from wherever you are, I love you.

9. Lady Gaga
Where is this woman from? Mars? As much as I hate to admit it, she completely fascinates me. And if you haven’t seen the Bad Romance video, I recommend it. I commend Miss Gaga for bringing performance art back to music and a little bit of weirdness back to mainstream pop.

10. (500) Days of Summer Soundtrack
Somehow, the people who made this movie reached inside my head and stole all the music I like. I still can’t hear Here Comes Your Man without picturing Joseph Gordon-Levitt drunkenly singing it at karoke. Ditto There Is a Light That Never Goes Out and the elevator scene. Ditto You Make My Dreams and the dance sequence.

11. Miley Cyrus - Party In The USA
Probably the most annoying song of the year, even if it was really catchy... and I kinda liked it... Oh and if you can find the Biggie Party And Bullshit remix, it's hilarious.
Pssst! Here: http://hypem.com/track/928736/Notorious+BIG+-+Party+and+Bullshit+In+the+USA+Remix+


Note: There are some movies that I’m supposed to love that I haven’t yet seen, including The Hurt Locker, Broken Embraces, The Princess and the Frog, The Messenger, and A Single Man.

10. Avatar
To put it simply: Avatar is a very, very pretty movie with a very, very dumb and predictable plot. But the prettiness is why James Cameron wants you to see it. Humor him. He is, after all, the king of the world. Heh.

9. The Hangover
Hands-down the funniest movie of the year. Best part? Other than all of it, the ending credits are absolutely hilarious.

8. Where the Wild Things Are
A lot of people absolutely hated this movie for being pretentious, taking a book with barely ten lines of text and turning it into an hour and forty minute movie. However, it tapped into the inner child of everyone who saw it, which made it succeed. Kudos to Karen O & The Kids for the fantastic soundtrack.

7. Fantastic Mr. Fox
I love Wes Anderson for several reasons: his tactful use of soundtracking, his tactful use of Bill Murray, and his tactful use of my school as a filming location for Rushmore (tiny parts of it anyway). How would I have known his style would carry over so well into stop-animation? I have never, ever smiled so much during a movie in my life; and, although he’s disguised as a clever fox, George Clooney is absolutely George Clooney. And Bill Murray still succeeds.

6. (500) Days of Summer
Romantic comedies are usually pretty lame. By turning the formula on its head and then chopping and screwing it some more, Marc Webb succeeded in making this tale of love found and lost into a total charmer with a great soundtrack and, even with all their faults, very likeable protagonists.

5. District 9
Most pleasant surprise of the year. I expected to see a fun, interesting sci-fi flick. But what I got was something so much better. A relatively unknown South African director uses a relatively unknown South African actor (who I read wasn’t really an actor at all) to carry a movie that is so relevant and so interesting and so gripping. A metaphor for apartheid using cat food-loving aliens? I’m game. Say what you want about it, but you absolutely have to see this film. It’s incredible.

4. An Education
This movie surprised me (but not as much as District 9). Not that the plot was terribly shocking, but the extent to which I was able to relate to how often I continued to think about the film for the next few days. Excellent performance by newcomer Carey Mulligan as a teenage girl struggling with the same things all other teenage girls (myself included) struggle with, topped off by an affair with a charming older man.

3. Up in the Air
It’s hard to say what makes this movie so good. Is it George Clooney? Possibly. Is it Anna Kendrick? Perhaps. A story of a solitary man facing having to make connections, or a frequent traveler who may have to be grounded. Either way, it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

2. Up
Pixar can do no wrong. In one of their best movies ever (which is hard to say because all their movies are brilliant), they combine the childlike and the mature to create not just a great and memorable family film, but a work of art.

1. Inglourious Basterds
Nazi-killing, gratuitous violence, Brad Pitt demanding scalps, someone called “The Bear Jew,” and Quentin Tarantino. It doesn’t get much better than this. The bar scene was pure genius, as was Christoph Waltz’ performance as the evil but charming Colonel Hans Landa.

OTHER GOOD MOVIES (in no particular order):

1. A Serious Man
Weird, but the more I think about it the more I like it, especially their use of Jefferson Airplane and the kid being high at his own bar mitzvah. You win, dude.

2. The Informant!
Fat Matt Damon? Hilarious.

3. Precious
It’s hard to deny the stir this film has created this year. With Oprah and Tyler Perry latching on, I was skeptical (I’m not a fan of either of them), but I gave in. Precious manages to tear you down and lift you up, all within the course of an hour and fifty minutes. Kudos to Mo’Nique, someone nobody took seriously until now.

4. Paranormal Activity
A viral marketing phenomenon. The movie itself could have been a bit scarier, but you have to give the fans credit for making this as huge as it was.

5. Adventureland
When a movie starts off with Bastards of Young, it can’t be that bad.

6. I Love You, Man
The best argument for bromance since, well, ever.

7. Zombieland
I love zombie movies. I will see any zombie movie you throw in front of me. So, combining zombies with a parody (and the best celebrity cameo in the history of parodies, which I won’t ruin), Zombieland was pretty awesome.

8. Moon
Congratulations to Duncan Jones for breaking out of his father’s shadow. (Daddy is David Bowie, in case you didn’t’ know). A bit of a mindfuck, but really interesting.

9. Jennifer's Body
Probably the funniest movie I saw all year... because it was so awful. A lot of awful movies take themselves seriously, but this one didn't. And I loved it.


10. The recession still isn't over
My dad reminds me of this every time I try to do anything that costs money. So I guess it must be important.

9. Jersey Shore
MTV glorifies a few more idiots. This is the Real World, but with bad fake tans and too much hair gel. It's offensive and it's hilarious.

8. Twitter
Who really cares that you're going to the bathroom right now? I don't.

7. Bernie Madoff finally goes to jail
What a douchebag. Not only did he rip off individuals, but he ripped off countless charities, hospitals, and Jewish organizations. There are some people in this world who are truly evil, and Mr. Madoff is one of them.

6. Chris Brown beats Rihanna
All the potential he had went out the window. She emerges stronger and more successful. A sad, sad story indeed.

5. Tiger Woods is really horny
There are 272,053 members in the "I Have Also Slept With Tiger Woods" facebook group. Shame on you, Tiger.

4. Swine Flu
Oh, get over it already.

3. Kanye West makes a complete fool of himself.
I agree that Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) video is much better than Taylor Swift's... anything, really (but not the best of all time... that award goes to Thriller). However, what Kanye did was totally uncalled for and extremely rude. I do have a bunch of respect for Taylor, however, for 1. writing her own songs and 2. that monologue on SNL that was actually very funny. We all knew Kanye was an asshole, but now we know how MUCH of an asshole. Even the president called him out on it.

2. Obama's Inauguration
It was pretty badass. And while this hasn't exactly been a stellar year in politics, it's nice to remember when things were still optimistic.

1. Michael Jackson dies
When something really huge happens, people always say "I'll remember where I was when I heard blah blah happened." I'll never forget the look of shock on my mother's face when we turned on the kitchen TV to "King of Pop, Dead at age 50."

So overall, 2009 was a pretty decent year. Here's to hoping 2010 is better! (It will be for me; I get to graduate high school.)


  • CaptainGaylord

    we have almost all of the same artists on our year-end lists, but in a totally different order. i've never heard japandroids... i need to check them out. good read!

    1 Ene 2010, 22:18
  • danosaur_jr

    thanks for the thoughtful list. been under a rock and needing to get several of these sooner rather than later...

    15 Ene 2010, 21:54
  • johnnyvolume

    excellent list!

    5 Feb 2010, 5:41
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